Ad Chiefs Sable and Sculley: Why Data Has Reinvented Marketing And What The ‘Message’ Is Missing

SculleyArtJohn Sculley, the former Apple and Pepsi CEO, joined David Sable, global CEO of agency Y&R, Jessica Gelman, VP of customer marketing and strategy for Kraft Sports Group (which owns the New England Patriots professional football franchise) and others Thursday in New York for a discussion about the way data has changed the marketing “message.”

“It’s very different than back in the ‘1984’ days when we wanted to reach the largest audience possible,” Sculley said about the TV spot that some consider to be one of Apple’s – and the industry’s – bests. “We now want to be so finely targeted [that we] own and can monetize [the entire] customer lifecycle – the future of marketing.”

In preparing for the launch of Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial that would launch Macintosh to the masses, the company had one goal: “We weren’t thinking about engagement,” Sculley said. “We were thinking: ‘Wow. Stop the world.’ Notice there was never any product shown in the commercial, but it set an expectation that something amazing was going to happen.”

Marketing campaigns today, he said, are judged around how effectively they cultivate relationships using data around individual interests to create personalized engagements. “It’s very different than how we thought thirty years ago,” he added.

But Sable, Y&R’s outspoken CEO who amicably described himself as part CEO, hippie and grandfather, argued that despite Apple’s branding aspirations, “1984” was indeed about engagement.

“Viral is not new,” he said. “Our business exists because of viral sharing. We know the cat pissing on your shoes is funny, and people will share it, but is the audience you want to reach paying attention to it? Is it driving purchase intent?” Sable pointed out that the ‘1984’ spot by necessity had to be in front of a broad audience since social media and mobile adoption didn’t yet exist.

“Relevance is what’s key and that’s where data comes in,” Sable said. “How do I take my message, if I’m Apple, and think about David when he’s walking near an Apple store? The problem we’re having with mobile is people think they have to take whatever assets [they had for desktop or other channels] and push it through to mobile.”

Kraft’s Gelman, said the sports-and-retail company has evolved into a data-driven marketing organization.

“In 2008, we didn’t have the social mechanisms we have now to understand who our fan is,” she said. “Now, we want to acquire fans socially and then bring them into our customer system and warehouse and start nurturing them.”

While one might not think the Patriots need to do a lot of proactive marketing – Gelman said that there’s a 60,000-person wait list for season tickets – Kraft uses Zeta Interactive’s (Zeta hosted the panel discussion) cloud-based cross-channel marketing hub ClickSquared for its “algorithms and regression models to understand what are the indicators that a season ticket holder might not renew.”

“We also recognize that one day we may not be as successful as a team as we are now, so when people join our database, we have a way of emailing them personalized messages that are not purely about sales. Sixty percent of our [Web traffic] and emails are consumed over mobile now, so messaging has to be clear with a specific call to action” that works with the form factor of the device.

With mobile and social media increasingly gaining marketers’ interest and wallet share, one question from the audience about TV’s some 40% stronghold on US ad spend ignited a brash response from Sable.

“Analysts keep looking for this magic number,” he said. “I don’t know what ‘TV’ means anymore. To me, it’s just content.” Marketing and media spend must be weighed in more nuanced ways, he said.

“Television still gives you incredible reach, which is why you still see Pepsi, Coke and the telecoms” invest there, Sculley acknowledged. “As a marketer, I never focused as much on share of market as I did share of growth in the market.”


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